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论老子

道,领导也。领导必需要不断呼唤,教导下属以及以身作则。下属的过和错皆因领导懒惰。

 
 
 

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Chapter 29: Kaizen  

2012-06-24 11:19:38|  分类: Buffer Mentality |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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The first thing you do in visual management is to observe for the housekeeping of the production floor where it must make everything clearly visible what should be in there and what is abnormal and should not have happened. The visual clarity of the shop floor would not have happened out of thin air. There must be a conscious effort in driving visual display to reach a high level of visual presentations. The cumulative of all these effort is attribuFigure to Kaizen. Kaizen is a culture where every little small improvement is carried out to cumulatively produce the desire shop floor visual management. 

On my first day to the Bintan plant, the site leader, Samuel Siew (who is my boss) brought me to the shop floor and introduced me to Tan Woon Kit (Operations Manager) and Benny (Assistant Operations Manager). We stood in-front of the visual boards at production line #4.

Samuel explained to me that he was very frustrated with the poor level of housekeeping. He said, “Despite I was banging for just 2 Kaizen a week, it did not happen. If 2 Kaizen were carried out a week on one of the production lines, multiply that by 18 lines; that will be 36 Kaizen a week. All we need is just 2 Kaizen ideas a week.”

He continued to run both Woon Kit and Benny down on two other suggestions he made several weeks ago and they are yet to be carried out. They are the installation of Andon lights for the Burn-in stations and the tracking of units that go in and out of the burn-in ovens which has a cycle time of 20 hours.

Both Woon Kit and Benny lowered their heads and did not say a word. It seems to me that both of them had failed Samuel. The running down session went on for about 10 minutes.

I turned my head and took a quick glance at several facilitators who sat still in front of their computers, busy typing away. It seemed to me the presence of Samuel and their superiors carrying Gemba walk (Management by Walking about) does not mean anything to them. Didn’t they notice their immediate superiors were being chewed up for not getting some simple Kaizen ideas done?

Don’t they think Kaizen is one of their responsibilities? What about 5S? Isn’t it their responsibilities to ensure that their production lines are span and clean? I was puzzled. Yet, none of the six facilitators ever paid attention to our presence. I believed this run down session has been a frequent scene on every Wednesday afternoon. Samuel regularly visits this Bintan plant every Wednesday. In my mind has this weekly run down session any impact to the facilitators?

It is obvious to me, if these 6 facilitators are not interested in 5S and Kaizen, the operators will not do anything. All top-down instructions will stop at the facilitator level. Therefore, if the facilitators are not going to drive the 5S or Kaizen program right down to the operators, nothing will happen. It is just that plain simple.

Quickly my mind worked at top speed to conclude a hypothesis that perhaps, in the facilitators’ mind, both the operations manager and the assistant operations manager are the buffer that had been shielding them from the shelling from Samuel.

Several weeks later I found out that Samuel had not spoken directly to the facilitators about their involvement in 5S and Kaizen is crucial and it is part of their responsibility. He just chewed up Woon Kit and Benny all the time.

5S and Kaizen are two basic programs that must be driven down to the lowest level of the shop floor people. But it could not be pushed down by forcing them using top-down authority. The people on the shop floor must be drawn in to voluntarily work on these activities. This is because people on the shop floor know their areas best.

Moreover, management could not possibly walk the line everyday and actually carrying 5S and Kaizen activities perpetually. 5S and Kaizen have to be bottom-up activities carried out by the shop floor people on their own initiatives. It must be cultivated from bottom-up.

Knowing that I would not possibly engage the facilitators to ignite the 5S or Kaizen process, I decided to take it upon myself to inculcate a Kaizen culture by working with the operators every day. By the way, in my 23 years of working experience, I had never champion or lead a 5S or Kaizen program in any factory. This is going to be a good challenge to me.              

The next day, I went to Kansas line #4. I introduced myself as the HOS site leader to Afkar, Asri and Citra. I began with telling them that I would like to work with them to make improvement on their work stations so that it will be easier for them to work at their work stations and at the same time making their workstations more ergonomic and a safer place to work.

I saw in their eyes, they were telling me, “Nobody cares about how we are doing here. Our facilitator did not tell us what Kaizen is or there is a need to make improvements on our workstation. Housekeeping is okay. We are just doing fine.”

I walked down the line quickly and made a close observation on what is the level of 5S (a systematic way of implementing housekeeping in five distinct steps. The 5 steps are: 1-Sort, 2- Store, 3-Shine, 4-Standardize and 5-Sustain). Gosh! The line was untidy. There wasn’t any indication that these operators understand the basic concepts of housekeeping and had been performing housekeeping regularly.

I came back right up to the entrance to the production cell standing next to the Point-of-Use (abbreviation POU) shelves. I asked who is in-charge of these inventory of raw materials staged on these shelves. Citra introduced herself that she is the final assembly coordinator and she is responsible for the inventory management of parts stored on these two POU shelves.

I noticed that the CCA’s (these are essentially printed circuit board assemblies) were stored in black ESD-proof tote boxes. At the front end of the tote box, there is a label describing what the CCA part number of the CCA that is kept in here. However, I could not figure out how many pieces of CCA’s there are in this tote box. I asked Citra, “How do you know how many pieces of CCA’s are there in this box?”

Citra replied, “I pulled out the tote box and make a count. This is the only way I am sure what is the latest quantity of CCA’s in each of these tote boxes.”

I made a quick count of the number of tote boxes placed on these two POU shelves. There were 14 tote boxes. I asked Citra again, “Do you make an inventory count of these parts everyday? For every one of the 14 tote boxes?”

Citra replied, “Yes. I always come in 15 minutes before shift starts. I begin my day with counting the inventory of CCA’s in all these tote boxes and then I update the actual quantity into an Excel spreadsheet.”

I followed on with a questioning trail and asked her, “How long does it take you to complete the inventory stock count everyday?”

She replied, “An hour.”

“What! You spent an hour everyday, stock take?” I asked. I could not believe my ears.

With her eyes looking straight into my eyes, she said, “Yes, one hour, more or less. It is usually longer.”

I sized upon this opportunity to prove to them that I am here to help her to reduce her work load. I made this suggestion. I said, “Citra, shall we work together to examine how we can reduce the time you spend to carry inventory stock take? Afkar and Asri, both of you are welcomed to participate in our discussion.

What do you think of this idea?

On a small piece of paper we draw a Figure of 3 columns and 10 rows. At column 1 and row 1, Citra writes down the quantity of CCA’s in the tote box. Next, when we withdraw a piece of CCA from the tote box, you write a number on the next row immediately below row 1 under column 1. The number you write is one less the number written on row 1. This number will tell you the exact quantity of the number CCA remaining in this tote box.

You do not need to carry out stock take anymore from tomorrow onwards. ”

Figure 29-1: A count down stock card

Asri exclaimed, “That is really neat. Citra, get it done right away. It saves you an hour a day.”

Citra kept quiet for several minutes before she said, “Okay. I will do it. No doubt, it is a neat solution.”

I followed up with an expectation to assign ownership of this action item to her. I asked, “Do you think this is a good idea? If it is, shall I assign the responsibility to you to get it done?”

Citra replied, “Yes, It is my duty.”

I asked, “How long will you take to get it done?”

itra replied, “Two days.”

I praised her, “Citra, you are a fast worker. You are a committed person who wants things get done the soonest possible. I like your working style.

Let me share with you my personal motto. Frankly, I love the Nike motto. That is, “Just Do It” I would like to borrow this motto and share it with all of you. If every one of you believes in this motto, “Just Do It”, as a team we can achieve a lot. We can execute more than a thousand Kaizen activities in a year.”

Askar laughed. A minute later he said, “Buy me a pair of Nike shoes. I love Nike, too.

No. Don’t buy me anything. It is a joke. I am in-charge of the E-tech (diagnostic, trouble-shooting and repair) workstation. Let’s walk to the end of this line and that is where my workstation is.”

Deep in my mind, I knew I have won over the trust of these three workers. The four of us went to the E-Tech workstation and brainstormed together how we can make the E-tech workstation a better work place. Soon after we walked the line together and altogether we identified 13 Kaizen opportunities in about two hours.

The next day I went to the adjacent line #3 and repeat the identification of Kaizen opportunities with the operators in line #3. They are: Desni, Winda, Erick and Robbie. They welcomed my visit as if they have been expecting me for a long while.

Of course, back in my mind, I supposed every operator in the shop floor has been watching me and wanting to know who I am and what I was doing together with Citra, Asri and Askar yesterday. I believe after the shift ended, they must have asked these 3 operators what I have been doing in line #4.

The three of them must have giving straight and honest answers that I was there to help them to improve their workstation, make their job easier and was such a kind person to work with. Certainly, these words ring loud in the ears of all the other operators that it is only good for them to have me walking down their production lines together with them. 

This was how I kick-started the Kaizen movement to all 150 operators by winning the trust of the first group of operators. One of the secrets how I managed to win over their trust so easily is I do not take on the credit of the ideas I suggested (90% of them were suggested by me). I attribute the credits to them for getting the Kaizen executed.

In other words, I want them to own the improvement ideas and therefore, they felt they were responsible to get them carried out timely. Remember, I cannot possibly have the time to carry out these Kaizen ideas. They must be the one executing it.

In six months, 1,150 Kaizen opportunities were identified in a small size factory with 150 employees at an average rate of 1.3 Kaizen per employee per month. All these were achieved without the production supervisors leading the front line operators. This totally debunked the need for a top-down approach to bank-roll the Kaizen movement.  

 

Figure 29-2: Progress on Kaizen activities for first six months



Compared to most companies the above achievement is quite astounding. Perhaps, you could not find any Japanese factory producing this kind of results. What is the secret to involving the shop floor people to carry out Kaizen?

Really, there is no magic. It is pure hard work.

There are two main reasons why Kaizen activities do not catch on with the operators.

One, it is the motivation factor. A simple rewarding system is required. It certainly speaks louder than words. The rewarding system can be tied to the implementation of a Kaizen idea and its benefit. Holding a Kaizen appreciation day where gifts were given out and possibly some awards for some of the outstanding Kaizen ideas would add sustenance to the Kaizen movement.

Two, somewhat management must develop a series of themes to continuously prod the operators to think of Kaizen activities in certain perspectives. The 5S program offers 5 different themes to pull the operators to make improvements along the Sort, Store, Shine, Standardize and Sustain principles of housekeeping.

From my years of experience working on industrial engineering and lean production system, I figured out that Kaizen can be carried out in 6 different levels.
1) carry out Kaizen on 5S. This is explained in the paragraph above.
2) carry out Kaizen on the WIP and make sure that all WIP in the line are clearly identified and labeled.
3) carry out Kaizen on the equipment, jig and fixture to enable ease of carrying the man-to-machine activities.

4) carry out Kaizen on achieving one-piece-flow system described in chapter 1.
5)
carry out Kaizen with a clear eye on the motion study the work station, especially the assembly work stations.
6) carry out Kaizen to reduce the process cycle time or man-to-machine touch time.

At the time of writing this book, I have only reached the fourth level of Kaizen. That is to setup the lines ready for a one-piece-flow production system. My boss, Steve Klossen asked me to breach the 2,000 Kaizen by the end of the year. This should not be a problem. I have two more themes to lead the operators. They are motion study of the final assembly operation and reducing process cycle time. Kaizen on these two areas requires a lot of skills and knowledge on basic industrial engineering.

John Zeneski, a former site leader in one of Honeywell plant in Olathe, Kansas (United States of America) was in Bintan from May 19 to 23, 2008. I flagged out some of the action plans for Kaizen activities and explained to him that I need the next 4 months to complete the remaining Kaizen activities for setting up a one-piece-flow system, motion study and reducing cycle time.

He was very impressed. He admiringly said, “Eric, I never know that Kaizen can be neatly broken up into these 6 levels or categories of activities. All I know was; Kaizen is Kaizen. Kaizen is bottom-up approach to continuous improvements. Nobody pays much attention to analyze Kaizen as the way you did. You are simply marvelous.”

I thanked John for his compliments and explained, “Thank you John. It is very kind of you to acknowledge that Kaizen is not just about simple and minutely insignificant improvements.

A lean expert workshop takes you four weeks spread over four months to learn in a class-room setting and supplemented with a half-day Gemba walk. At most what you had learnt scratches the surface of the entire body of the lean production techniques that evolved in Toyota since the 1950’s.

Very few people realized Mr. Shigeo Shingo, the pioneer industrial engineering consultant whom Taiichi Ohno hired to challenge established industrial practices for more than two decades to produce what we call today as, “Toyota Production System”.

I am a strong fan of Mr. Shigeo Shingo. Of course, I know the importance of applying industrial engineering into every aspect of the lean production system. I have polished up my skills with a pair of eyes for the sharpest details for Kaizen improvements.”

Let me show you an example of a Kaizen that reduced the cycle time by a mere 0.1 second. That is much shorter than our response time of 0.6 seconds. In this company, the output per shift was 20,000 pieces. By reducing 0.1 seconds per piece, I saved 2,000 seconds per shift. That is about 34 minutes a shift. That contributed to an increased in productivity of 7%.”

I strongly believe my bottom-up approach of involving the operators is sustainable. The operators are very fast learners. When they see a good idea in the neighboring lines, they quickly copied it and therefore, reaped the benefits for themselves.

On the other hand, an authoritative top-down approach dictated from the top such as what Samuel did will not work. Flowing down along the few levels of management hierarchy, somehow, his directive must have gone lost somewhere before it reaches the lower level of employees.   

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